The government should have a strategy for adult education and skills that has the same "status" as the flagship industrial strategy, according to adult education body Holex.
In the organisation's autumn budget submission, shared exclusively with Tes, it recommends that the government create an adult education, skills and employment strategy “with equal status” to the industrial strategy, along with an "adult basic skills Brexit fund" in order to train older workers in low-skilled sectors, rather than relying on international workers.
In the list of 10 recommendations, Holex also calls on the government to “recognise the importance of adult education”, and to provide resources for business that demonstrate that older workers can be trained as apprentices under the apprenticeship levy.
In June, statistics from the Department for Education revealed that participation in adult education had fallen by 78,300 in the first half of the 2016-17 academic year compared with the same period in 2015-16.
Holex’s autumn budget recommendations in full:
- Announce the preparation of an adult education, skills and employment strategy with equal status to the industrial strategy.
- Create an adult basic skills Brexit fund for low-skilled sectors so they can recruit staff from the resident UK population.
- Pledge additional new funding for an adult-led National Retraining Scheme linked to an extended right to request time off to train.
- Resource the enhanced role of adult education, including additional resource to fund:
- the Digital Skills Entitlement so that adults and young people can embrace the digital revolution;
- English language provision linked to formalised local action plans;
- Induction and first-rung provision across the skills and employment sector so more people can return to the labour market;
- Tackling mental health through education programmes.
- Commit to reviewing the way adult education funding is allocated and inspected and announce a government review of different options for personal learning accounts combined with individual learner records.
- Expand loans and support the National Retraining Scheme so as to:
- allow the existing adult-fee loans programme to fund units of qualifications;
- promote adult level 3 and 4 students by providing maintenance loans.
- Recognise the importance of education to the older person.
- Provide resources to promote the fact that employers paying the apprenticeship levy can use payments to train older workers as apprentices.
- Promote and resource family learning.
- Invest resources in the adult education workforce so that the sector can deliver the provision needed to meet the challenge of getting more of the resident workforce into work following Brexit, and longer working lives.